Inner core unit exercises?? Suggestions

mindquest

Double-Digit Post Count
After reading Ab Matters from Brett I was interested in learning more about exercises focused on the inner core unit. Also does anyone have suggestions on further reading on the inner core unit, seems like there is not a ton out there at first look. Here are two articles I have come across so far:

100 Best Ab Exercises

The Inner Core

 

 
 

mindquest

Double-Digit Post Count
Brett,

Thanks for the suggestion for crocodile breathing, never tried it but will tonight!

I live in Chicago, who would you recommend here for the screening?

 
 

Brett Jones

StrongFirst Director of Education
Master Certified Instructor
Beast Tamer
Sean,
It's an L-sit (not el-sit) and it is a great abdominal exercise/"core" exercise but isn't a reflexive "core" drill AND we don't know anything about Dave O and whether that is a good drill to recommend or if he has any other issues (pain, mobility restrictions etc...) in the way.

Dave,
Here is a list from the FMS website:
FMS Chicago list

Mike Connely is in Chicago - INFO here

and he may have some recommendations for you in the area etc....
 

Sean Schniederjan

Triple-Digit Post Count
Brett,

I stand by my suggestion, respectfully disagree with your judgment about what kind of core exercise it is, and was joking about the pronunciation.

Sean
 

Brett Jones

StrongFirst Director of Education
Master Certified Instructor
Beast Tamer
Sean,

Stand by it all you like - it is still not an "inner unit" drill
 

mindquest

Double-Digit Post Count
Brett,

First of all thanks for the recommendation!

 

Second I too would like to hear what you think some of the top inner core exercises would be!
 

JediMind

Triple-Digit Post Count
Hold a kb or plate with two hands in front of you and move it up and down slowly. Connect tail and navel.
 

Matt

More than 300 posts
An idea of mine (if I understand Brett correctly) - there are some 20kg plates at my gym with a gap around the rim to allow you to hold them (like a suitcase handle), if you have access to the same : clean one, one handed holding it above your head vertically.  I guess a KB will do the trick just the same.  If 20kg is too light, you'll probably have to try a 24kg KB or heavier.

Another - try a really heavy walkout - say 2.5+BW weight, loaded as if you were going to squat it, unrack, 3 steps back, 3 forward, rack.  The much heavier than normal weight amplifies any balancing you might need to do when walking.

Both can be a little "dangerous" so be careful - moreso for others around you for the clean.
 

Zach Ganska

More than 300 posts
Certified Instructor
Matt- Those are examples of trying to target feed-forward core training, thus I wouldn't recommend either.  Good 2 part article recently put out on the FMS website:

http://www.functionalmovement.com/articles/Fitness/2014-03-06_training_the_core_the_core_of_2014_part_2

"In sum, reflexive core activation is done by assuming any developmental position with joints centered, while maintaining diaphragmatic breathing with or without an outside stimulus or a part of the body creating a perturbation."
 

Zach Ganska

More than 300 posts
Certified Instructor
I love when this forum gets me thinking about stuff for awhile throughout the day...

L-Sit:  Would this fall into an outer-unit core exercise (for most) given the high intensity/ resistance and that it's a pressing movement (my brain is picturing it as a modified handstand given the arms are pressing down into the ground...)?

I could see how someone (like a knowledgeable gymnast) could activate both the inner and outer core with this move, however someone with a history like myself (overly relying on feed-forward tension to accomplish moves that require reflexive stability) would be relying upon a feed-forward strategy unless the position was greatly modified into a developmental position while adding stability from the ground...
 

Dave0317

Triple-Digit Post Count
Just when I thought the word "core" was being overused, we find a new variation of it to train and talk about.  Great!

Just an old school Pavel inspired thought here...In PTP he talks about how guys train different heads of their triceps and all and basically says the entire muscle kicks in when a heavy enough load is used.

Do I really need to work my "inner core unit" now?  Or can I still do deadlifts, overhead work, L-pullups, etc. and assume my entire core is getting the work it needs?  And I will never use the phrase "inner core unit" in public.  Ever.
 

Matt

More than 300 posts
I understand and share your sentiments Dave T, yet I believe you can still have strong "abs" yet have a weak "inner core" to use "the" terminology.  For me the core is the core, the whole inner and outer together.  Yet it can be trained in different ways as it performs more than one function - one consciously the other unconsciously or reflexively.
 

Sean Schniederjan

Triple-Digit Post Count
If full Lsits are too difficult, just do them with bent knees or even one bent knee and one straight leg.  I do them on my office chair all the time. You will build up to the full L-sit if you're consistent with it.  It also gets some great lat activation action.

A convenient, powerful exercise for many folks.
 

Sean Schniederjan

Triple-Digit Post Count
Also want to question this definition of reflexive ab (I'm with the commenter above...there is something undignified about the word "core") stability:

“In sum, reflexive core activation is done by assuming any developmental position with joints centered, while maintaining diaphragmatic breathing with or without an outside stimulus or a part of the body creating a perturbation.”

Here's how I think of the reflexive property, let me know what I'm missing:

This winter I shoveled a lot of heavy snow.  My abs kicked in to protect my lower back with each miserable "rep."

That's how I think of the reflexivity of the abs.  It has little to do with breathing, more about muscle contraction for a purpose: to protect the lower back.  I guess if you're chest breathing this might get messed up like everything else in your life will.

KBs, DLing, L-Sits,front levers, dead bugs, crawling like a baby, etc. (assuming good form) are different ways of getting this important protective mechanism.
 
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